Tuesday, May 30, 2006

School Teacher's Legacy

My teacher, Mrs Lawrence, though severe and elderly,
(Or so she seemed to me),
Had a passion for good writing, especially poetry.

I wrote a short piece once in class,
And read it aloud at her request.
She couldn’t have known
How much life time propellent
Was in her response.
“If I had written that myself,” she said,
“I couldn’t have put it better.”
This from a sparing woman
Strict to the letter.

Mrs Lawrence died next year
Losing a fight with cancer.
What I never will forget
Is how she praised my answer.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


My flesh is meat indeed.
My blood is drink.
"A cannibal feast!"
Some shrieked
And from him fled.
But some to this were led:
That Christ's human flesh, His very blood,
Nourishes our expectation:
Feeds us well.
And sending Gnostic lies to hell,
Gives us good hope,
Of bold resurrection
In carbon molecules of flesh and blood.
There the new wine sparkles,
Sweet with anticipation.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Tiny twitch of fur, hapless sugar glider
snagged by a fold of skin on a barbed wire fence
catches my daughter’s eye.

Its animated little head has bulging night-time eyes
and mouth full of fierce chatter.

Back from her run, she screws up her face
and makes short bursts of sound in imitation,
to show us how it went.

A neighbour she’d recruited is bitten on the hand
and gets his gloves to have another go.

When sugar glider scurries free, it shows no hurt,
and finds a tree.

© Steve Isham 2006

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Garments of Light

Garments of Light (hand painted etching) Marion Isham

With tongues of flame
He dances in the night.
Pentecost is past.
But still the light.

Steve Isham 2006

Saturday, May 20, 2006

How You Say a Thing

Greg Clarke was in Hobart last week just prior to the Da Vinci Code film release, delivering a lecture related to his book, Is it Worth Believing? In chapter 2 he says “Sorry…for not presenting the truth as we understand it in an exciting, attractive and believable way.” A further thought:

How You Say a Thing

A treasure in truth
Told so cold
It is not heard,
Lies tragic
Like the fabled beauty
In the tower
Unseen and never claimed.

Do I break the commandment,
Bearing false witness,
When I do not tell,
(With something like the art,
The heart,
The storyteller Christ
Can show),
The truth I know?

©Steve Isham 20 May 2006

Thursday, May 18, 2006

He No Longer Believes

Will you share it with me now?
Shall we walk together and rejoice
At your new-found poverty,
With all the angels gone?
Will you evangelize me here
And tell me how
The void, the outer darkness
Empty now,
Is some glad place
And full of promise?

Will we find enough to do
Distracted and seduced
By pleasures of the flesh and mind,
To pass these shadow hours,
Before we pass for good
Beyond all memory or account?

Surely we will:
The tide of time is high.
We are awash
With all that hums and glows.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Finding Fit

Putting words
among their fellows
in lines of verse
like stones in a wall.
selecting for shape,
for fit, for rightness.
Perhaps chipping a bit.
Stepping back
to survey the effect.
The satisfaction,
or not.
But no sore back.